Miss Hamalis’ Bulletin – Monday 2 October 2023

Posted: 2nd October 2023

Miss Hamalis, Head Of Channing Junior School

Dear Parents 

Our Harvest assembly this morning reminded us all of the importance of altruism which is key to our school’s mission: ‘to inspire pupils to develop scholarship, integrity, altruism and independence.’ Thank you for your generous donations for Food Bank Aid, a charity which supports over 30 independent food banks across North London by collecting, sorting and distributing food, toiletries and household items to over 16,000 people, including more than 5,200 children. We are delighted to help support such a worthy cause. We feel strongly as a school community that we should help raise awareness of food poverty and engage with our pupils about social responsibility. A big thank you to our Form Reps Miss Manners (Isabella C-M 3E), Ms Gupta (Aavya G 3E) and Mrs Taylor (Honey T 2B) who delivered the donations to the depot in order to help families who are really struggling.

As part of our Harvest celebrations, we also listened to a fascinating talk by Helen, the owner of a local family-run business, Highgate Honey, that concentrates on producing high-quality honey while maintaining healthy bees. Highgate Honey started keeping bees in 2013 when they moved to the area and realised that it would be possible to have a hive on the roof of their home. Since then the number of colonies has grown and now they have apiaries in Hampstead, Finchley, Dartmouth Park and Hendon. Highgate Honey now encourages people to make small changes to their own outdoor spaces to help support all types of bees. 

Highgate Honey are particularly fascinated by the variation in tastes and colours of honey produced by the same hives throughout the season. They extract their honey in small batches every few weeks over the summer to try and capture these differences. They jar and label the honey from each hive separately so we can really appreciate each type. They watch to see which flowers we see bees visiting in our local area, so we get an idea about which nectars may be in the honey.

This talk resonated with the girls (and staff) who are passionate advocates for sustainability and protecting the planet. One of the ways we continue to support the girls to do this is by actively championing them to share their opinions and ideas for sustainable endeavours. Our Sustainability Officers (Asta M RM, Ottie A-P RR, Anouska R 1A, Sophia S 1C, Reeva S 1W, Luna S 2B, Iris W 2R, Mari D 3E, Arianna B-P 3F, Ayra M 4K, Jessica A 4W, Aria B 5K, Selena K 5S, Thalia R 6B, Danielle L 6D) will work throughout the year with Mr Rich and Miss Baker (Forest School & Sustainability Leads) to implement and carry out new initiatives to foster green ideas and encourage further sustainability within our school grounds. 

Last week, the Sixth Form Sustainability Officers, Lola and Grace, joined Mr Rich and Miss Baker in assembly in order to announce a climate emergency declaration at Channing. This is an action taken by governments, universities, scientists and now schools to acknowledge humanity is in a climate emergency. The first such declaration was made by a local government in December 2016. Since then, over 2,100 local governments in 39 countries have made climate emergency declarations. I encourage you to watch this video (made by our Sustainability Officers last Summer Term) to explain, in their voices, the need for a climate emergency. 

You are probably asking yourselves what it means for Channing now that we have declared a climate emergency. As a school community, we are recognising that human enhanced climate change and its consequences are now seen as a major issue which already is affecting all of our futures. We are saying that we want to be part of the solution, rather than the problem. Recognising that climate and eco-anxiety is on the rise, and that enabling our staff and pupils to do something about it is empowering and essential. We are going to work towards net zero so this will mean changes, including:

  • Promoting the ‘Eco Code’ which was created by last year’s Sustainability Team
  • Improving recycling
  • Using public transport for school trips whenever possible
  • Continuing providing meat free meals 
  • Reducing the use of single use plastic 
  • Increasing the purchase of Fairtrade goods
  • Continuing and championing ‘Clean Air’ days 
  • Promoting planting and gardening in the school grounds
  • Calculating the school’s carbon footprint

The Junior School and Senior School Sustainability Officers will share further initiatives for Sustainability Week, 27 November – 1 December 2023, which will coincide with the UN Climate Change Conference, COP 28, taking place in the UAE this year. We invite you to join us in supporting in-school, local and national initiatives to reduce our carbon footprint and support greener credentials moving forwards.

To hear more about the school’s commitment to Sustainability, listen to the latest episode of Chatting With Channing with Mr Hill (Bursar), Miss Walker (Sustainability Coordinator, Senior School) and the Year 13 Sustainability Officers. Listen on: Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Channing Website

With warmest regards,

Miss Dina Hamalis 

Head of the Junior School

Calendar & Events

School Calendar

You can view all events for the year in the school calendar via our Parent Portal: SchoolBase login. Your calendar view should already be filtered to display the Junior School events and events which are specific to your daughter’s year group. 

The ‘School Calendar Parent View’ button shows the complete calendar, which can be viewed by each month, week or day. Events also appear on the right-hand side of the home page under ‘Forthcoming Events’ and the monthly view of the calendar also appears at the bottom of the home page.

Individual & Sibling Photographs: Monday 9 October

On Monday 9 October, the girls will have individual photos taken and photos with their sisters in the Junior School. As the photos are individual, we do not mind if the girls wear either their summer or winter uniform; however, we ask that siblings please wear the same uniform and for everyone to be smart and tidy with their hair fully back if it is longer than shoulder length with black, brown or Channing blue hair accessories.

All girls should come into school as they would usually on a Monday and will change accordingly. The photography schedule has been devised to work around Forest School and PE lessons.

ABRSM Practical Music Examinations: APPLICATIONS OPEN

As detailed in last week’s Bulletin, we will be holding practical music examinations on Monday 4 – Wednesday 6 December for candidates in both the Junior and Senior School. These examinations are also open to candidates who have practical music tuition outside of school, provided their teacher has stated that they are ready to take an ABRSM practical examination this term.

We need parental consent before we enter candidates, therefore parents need to complete the online form by 4pm on Thursday 12 October at the latest. Regrettably, we will be unable to process late applications.

Parents’ Evenings

Our Reception – Year 6 Form Teacher and Specialist Teacher meetings, for the Autumn Term, will take place on:

  • Tuesday 10 October 
  • Wednesday 11 October 
  • Wednesday 1 November 

Specialist Teachers will be available to meet with parents of KS2 pupils only this term. Reception – KS1 meetings with Specialist Teachers will take place in the Spring Term. If you choose to make a booking with a Specialist Teacher, they will provide an academic overview of your daughter’s effort and attainment since the start of the academic year. 

Two further evening dates, in November, will be released for KS2 appointments with Specialist Teachers only once the dates above are taken. If you wish to book an appointment with a Specialist Teacher, but notice that the appointments are all taken, please click to join the waiting list with that Specialist Teacher. Following this, you will be allocated an appointment later in November which you will be able to amend on Schoolcloud after Tuesday 1 November. Meetings with Specialist Teachers will be five minute appointments hosted Schoolcloud and booked on a first come first served basis:

  • Miss Bolton (3F, 4W, 5K, 6D ~ PE)
  • Mrs Castle (3E, 4K, 5S, 6B ~ PE)
  • Mr Fellows (Year 3 –  Year 6 ~ Art & DT)
  • Miss Jimenez (Year 3 –  Year 6 ~ Spanish & French)
  • Mrs Lynch (Year 3 –  Year 6 ~ Drama
  • Mrs Munro (Year 3 –  Year 6 ~ Music)

Thank you to those parents and carers who have logged on to the Schoolcloud booking system to secure their online and in-person Parents’ Evening appointment times with teachers. Further details were provided via email last week, including a short guide on how to add appointments. Please check your inbox carefully. 

The booking system will remain open until 8pm this Friday 6 October. Should you wish to make any changes after this date, please contact the school office.

Children’s Drawing and Painting Courses at Lauderdale House

Lauderdale House is currently running a Children’s Drawing and Painting Course, for children aged 5-8.

Though the course has already started, parents/carers are more than welcome to book their child on a taster session or onto the course itself, any time up until half-term. For more information, please see the flyer. If you have any questions about the course, please do not hesitate to contact Lauderdale House’s Marketing Manager, Nathan Rasdall: or their Marketing & Events Assistant, Natasha Smith:

Teaching & Learning

World Mental Health Day Homework

World Mental Health Day is next Tuesday 10 October. Mental health has declined in almost 40% of school children. We’re all doing our part to support our young girls in the face of this growing crisis. On World Mental Health Day, ITV’s Britain Get Talking and YoungMinds’ #HelloYellow are collaborating to help children across the country open up and we are joining this important initiative. 

What is on our minds can be the hardest subject. A piece of homework like no other has been created by teachers and a clinical psychologist: a conversation starter for the girls to take home, designed to help them talk about the hardest subjects on their minds with their parents, guardians or trusted adults. 

We appreciate your support sharing this homework with your daughters to show the girls that sharing worries can help ease stress and reduce anxiety. Ant and Dec have recorded a short video introducing the task (click here). 

Our youngest children in Reception will discuss the special homework first as a Circle Time in school before this is shared to bring home to parents.

Pupils in Year 1 – 2 will have this homework assigned this Friday 6 October, in anticipation of National Mental Health Day. This will be in lieu of weekly English homework this week.

All pupils in Years 3 – 6 will be assigned the homework next Tuesday 10 October (as an English/ oracy homework). 

500 Words Competition

The UK’s most successful children’s writing competition has opened for submissions and will run until Friday 10 November. Since the competition was first launched in 2011, it has received over one million stories from children throughout the UK.

This year, the two age categories will be 5-7 year-olds and 8-11 year-olds. Children are encouraged to use their creativity and imagination to write a story they would love to read without the pressure of having to worry about spelling, punctuation and grammar.

This year, BBC Breakfast will be hosting the competition supported by BBC Teach. The winners will be featured in a special 500 Word programme with ‘The One Show’, on World Book Day on 7 March 2024. We champion all of the girls to take part at home, especially if they are budding writers! There are very few rules on 500 Words but a few points to remember:

All the stories must:

  • Be 500 words or less (title is not included in the number)
  • Be written by an individual and not a group
  • Be a child’s own original idea
  • Be prose, not rap or poem

Stories must not:

  • Give any personal details of the child, including their name
  • Recount an historical event (but they can use a real person or historical character for inspiration)

Further details, including how to submit your daughter’s work online, is available here

Primary Maths Challenge

This year, all pupils (aged 9+ on Monday 6 November) in Years 4 – 6 will have the opportunity to once again participate in the online Primary Mathematics Challenge (PMC). The PMC is a school competition-style challenge which is run by the registered charity The Primary Mathematics Challenge. The questions asked are not necessarily subjects that have been covered in the Mathematics curriculum by this time, but they can create a great starting point and lead to discussions later in the year. The questions are not heavily reliant on formal mathematical knowledge, but can be solved by logical reasoning.

Thank you for discussing this stretch and challenge opportunity with your daughters at home ahead of the holidays. Whilst we wish to offer the opportunity to all pupils, we do not wish the PMC to cause upset for pupils who are developing their mathematical confidence and aptitude. We would not encourage pupils to sit the challenge unless they feel comfortable and confident. We recommend only encouraging pupils to sit the PMC if they feel they have shown above expected mathematical aptitude in lessons; focus when completing mathematical tasks in lessons and homework tasks; as well as the confidence and growth mindset to tackle unknown challenges.

Should your daughter wish to enter and participate in the PMC this November, please contact your child’s Form Teacher via email by 8am on Thursday 12 October.

After pupils have self-nominated themselves to enter the PMC (confirmed via parent emails to Form Teachers), Form Teachers in Years 4 – 6 will review the list of entries and will nominate girls, who regularly complete extension classwork activities and who they believe will excel and enjoy participating in the PMC, to sit the online challenge.

Throughout the week beginning Monday 6 November, all pupils in each Year 4-6 Form, who have been self-nominated and teacher-nominated, will then sit the PMC online, during one Mathematics lesson within their timetable. Alternative work will be planned and supported for this lesson, for girls in each Year 4-6 Form who do not wish to take part, or who are ineligible due to age. Additionally, in preparation for the PMC next month, Form Teachers in Years 4 – 6 will provide practice papers and answers to work through at home. This will be an option to complete instead of the weekly Mathematics homework set.

Using Research-based Evidence to Help you Support your Child

We’ve all heard the saying ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’ – and it seems as though this may even be true for revision. Recent research has shown that the simple act of drawing can not only enhance memory of individual words but also definitions. This subsequently leads to improved academic performance. But what makes drawing such an effective revision technique? 

Research has shown that, in order to create a drawing from a word, pupils have to elaborate on its meaning. They have to really consider the word to decipher how best to represent it, create the necessary motor movements with a pencil and use pictorial processing to inspect their drawing once it’s finished. All of these actions allow for the creation of stronger memory traces, which makes retrieval at a later stage much easier. Therefore, when revising taught concepts, pupils should be looking to interact with the material in as many different ways as possible. 

Young learners often just sit and copy their notes from their textbook word for word. However, this strategy is one of the worst revision techniques, as it does not require pupils to elaborate on the information, unlike drawing.This reduces the likelihood that they can retrieve the material later. 

Drawing has also been proven to be a much more effective revision technique than visualisation. In one particular study, participants were asked to either visualise or draw a picture of a study word, before having their ability to recall the information tested.The researchers found that drawing led to much higher levels of recall than visualisation alone. Talk to your child about the power of using pictures and words in their learning. 

Here are two videos that explain what dual coding is and why it works: What is dual coding ~ Inner Drive and Dual Coding: A Video For Students

Channing Association News

Fundraising Update

Thank you to all the parents who came to the CA Quiz Night last week – and congrats to Team 2R in 1st place! A fantastic social event, raising £1,702!

A huge thanks to Sonu N (Y7 parent), whose catering company: Bohut Tasty! served dinner, Nicole D (Y2 parent) for providing homemade desserts, Niro F and Jo L (also Y2 parents) for running the bar, and Tom G (Y2 parent) as a very entertaining Quiz Master! 

Funds raised by the CA are allocated to three core pillars: supporting the girls, fostering a sense of community amongst Channing families, and raising money for charitable causes.

Winter Fair - Call for Raffle Prizes!

The Channing Association will be running a fundraising raffle at the Winter Fair on Friday 1 December, and are looking for fabulous prizes! If you have a product, service or experience you could donate, they would be most grateful. To kick-start the prize list, Miss Hamalis has offered an exclusive tea party for a Channing girl and friend of her choice! 

We also start the prize list with a voucher for a week at Active Camp (at Channing), a Sri Lankan meal kit from Kolamba@Home, and Ed Gamble comedy tickets! 

Please email with any donation offers.

Funds raised by the CA are allocated to three core pillars: supporting the girls, fostering a sense of community amongst Channing families, and raising money for charitable causes. 

Channing Association AGM: Monday 9 October, 7 - 8pm

The Channing Association AGM (across both the Junior and Senior Schools) will be held on Monday 9 October, 7- 8pm, in the Senior School 6th Form Centre. All parents are welcome to join.

Fireworks Event

Tickets for our Fireworks Event, on Saturday 4 November, are now available to buy. There is limited availability so please don’t put off buying them as the event sold out in the first week of sales last year.

There will be hot dogs, burgers, Sri Lankan curry and churros available from 5:30 (non-meat options will be available) as well as beer, wine, mulled wine, sweets and glo accessories. Gates will open at 5:30 – 8:30pm with the display starting at 6:45. The DJ and dancers are back this year to help get the fireworks party started.